Children learn a million lessons from their parents.
Over time, they learn mundane things like learning to shave or tying knots in their laces.
They also learn about being respectful and the proper way to treat a person.
For Peter Thompson, being honest with people is perhaps the most important taught to him by his father, Gerald, while growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor.
It is a lesson he still uses today.
“One of the biggest things he taught me was to be honest and upfront with people,” said Peter.
Gerald died on Feb. 10. He was 78-years-old.
As a youngster at a time when his father was a local salesman, Peter always felt like Gerald knew everybody and everybody knew his father.
He was a dedicated member of Memorial United Church, the province’s Liberal Party and the Lodge Northcliffe No. 1086 in Grand Falls-Windsor.
He also served the regional business community as the executive director of the Exploits Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Over time, the community and Gerald were synonymous with each other.
“(Dad) was just one of those guys how had a strong sense of community,” said Peter.
Nina Butt remembers Gerald and that sense of community well.
When he became a lay reader with Memorial United Church in Grand Falls-Windsor, she was there as a member of the church.
It was in 1993 and Butt was instrumental in him being named to the position. After that, Gerald was responsible for filling in for the minister when they were off as a part of a rotation.
On top of those duties, he also was a part of delivering ecumenical messages to people in nursing homes.
“(Gerald) was very faithful and very dedicated,” said Butt.
He was a member of the church’s board of trustees and was always ready to answer the call when it came.
Butt said Gerald never failed to show up when there were dinners to hand out or other engagements at the church.
He was a dedicated member of the church and she enjoyed the time she got to work with him.
“He was really excellent to work with,” said Butt.
Since passing away last week, tributes have been coming in from far and wide for Gerald and the impact he had on their lives.
Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms virtually stood in the House of Commons recently and paid tribute to Gerald.
As the Liberal MP for the region, Simms said he and Gerald shared many a conversation over the years.
“Gerald left a great impression on his community, one of great respect, and I will also miss his great poems,” said Simms.
In a lengthy post to the Lodge Northcliffe’s Facebook page, Right Worshipful Master Robert Duffney called Gerald a “shining light and a strong pillar of our lodge for over 40 years.”
He was immensely knowledgeable on the workings of the lodge and was able to fill in whenever and wherever he was needed.
Gerald was always ready to help out organize a game in the lower hall or to come up with a poem at a moment’s notice.
“Gerald always had the lodge’s best interest at heart and always put the betterment of the lodge in the forefront,” wrote Downey.
Peter said his father always wanted a Masonic funeral. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 regulations meant that couldn’t happen.
Still, the family is planning on granting their patriarch's wish when conditions allow.
“(My father) touched a lot of people,” said Peter.
Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice